NEWARK, N.J. - Tony Soprano is welcome in the North Jersey town of Bloomfield after all. Earlier this week, the town's mayor and council had denied a permit to film the series' final scene, saying they found the HBO mob drama a disparaging portrait of Italian-Americans.
However, township attorney Brian Aloia determined the council doesn't have a say in the permit process unless a waiver is needed, and said the town clerk has now issued the filming permit.
A waiver wasn't needed because producers would be filming in a commercial area after 8 p.m., he said.
HBO intended to shoot the scene at an ice cream shop in Bloomfield. The town borders Newark, where fictional mob boss Tony Soprano grew up.
Aloia said the clerk must issue a permit after determining that a shoot fulfills certain legal requirements, such as having adequate insurance.
"She must look at the application in an objective manner," he said. "She cannot consider, for instance, what's being filmed or in this case if she likes the show or doesn't like the show."
"The Sopranos" is scheduled to return with its last episodes April 8.
Permits were approved last week. But after complaints, the council voted again on Monday and rejected them.
Bloomfield Mayor Raymond McCarthy, whose wife is Italian, voted against the shoot twice.
"I don't think 'The Sopranos' depicts the life of a typical Italian-American in a positive way," he said, "and I still don't like the way people see New Jersey based upon 'The Sopranos' series."
The owners of the old-fashioned ice cream parlor selected for the series' final scene, Holsten's Brookdale Confectionary, said personal feelings shouldn't stand in the way.
After receiving word Friday of the town's reversal, co-owner Ron Stark was excited about becoming a pop culture landmark.
"Hopefully, this will all work out," he said.
Stark said creator David Chase visited the shop twice to scout it, and that HBO officials told him the 1939 building would be used for the final scene of the series finale. Three days of filming were scheduled for late March.